MOVES to increase the number of promotion places in the Nationwide Conference have not come before time -- but Hereford United must be wishing it could have happened this season.

Nationwide League clubs are expected to rubber-stamp a two-up, two-down system with the Conference for next season at their annual meeting in June.

The idea is for the champions to go up automatically and for the second and third-placed clubs to play off for the other slot.

Had that been in force this season, Graham Turner's men would have been in prime position for a mouth-watering potential play-off with Rushden and Diamonds.

And with a gaggle of clubs just behind them, the last few weeks would have seen excitement reach fever pitch throughout the Conference.

As it stands, though, the Bulls have nothing more than a spot of prize money to play for in the remaining weeks.

It has often been said that many Conference clubs are better run and have better grounds than some clubs already in the league. It's only the League clubs protecting their own interests that has prevented them allowing more than one club to come up each year.

Yyou only need look at recent years to show how beneficial the system has been -- to the sides going down as well as up.

Macclesfield Town were promoted in their first season in the League and last season's Conference champions Cheltenham Town are currently in a play-off position in the Third Division.

Even Bulls fans will admit that their Conference gates are on a par with their later League days, while Doncaster Rovers' crowds have more than doubled since they became a non-league side.